Rick’s Journal — MY FILM CAREER
original songs by Frank Loesser
The exposition delivered in the first scene by Joan Caulfield and Barbara Stanwyck is so clumsy that I was ready to give the film up. But I stayed, became engrossed and, finally, delighted.
The highpoint for me this view around was the same as when I saw the initial release of Variety Girl: Alan Ladd and Dorothy Lamour are sensational introducing the song Tallahassee. (It would become a hit and be recorded by the Andrews Sisters with Bing Crosby.) Dorothy Lamour is in general a surprisingly vibrant presence in the film. Once the jungle princess cast off her sarong, she became an effervescent charmer.
The slim plot is, of course, an excuse for promoting as many stars of the Paramount lot as could be reasonably accomodated. The character of the studio boss (Frank Ferguson) is funny; and so is the running gag which has our heroine Catherine Brown (Mary Hatcher), aka Amber LaVonne, somehow always involving him in water: a bucket; a pool, the sound stage river. Olga San Juan is perfect, and hilarious, as the other Amber LaVonne.
At the end of a very brief skit Gary Cooper utters the best-timed “Giddyap” that anyone could imagine. Robert Preston appears even more briefly but proves as sterling as always. Billy De Wolfe does food again (remember “Meex meex, toss toss…”?) Directors George Marshall and Mitchell Leisen play parts, have lines. Cecil B. DeMille, on his set, is one hundred percent believable playing his arrogant self.
A young DeForest Kelley is pleasant — and super sexy! DeForest Kelly! — as the other half of the young love interest. Pearl Bailey sings I’m Tired.
My disappointment came with seeing Veronica Lake, in an autograph-hound skit, enter on Alan Ladd’s arm — then never appearing again until the film’s candid curtain call. ( She is still with Alan Ladd then and gives the impression of needing him and being dependent on him.)
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Click on Vivien Leigh up top here, then scroll down and click on “A Making Of…”.
NEXT FRIDAY POST July 6
See you AT the movies,